AUSSIE HEROES HEAD HOME FOR 2023 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIP IN JANUARY

All three of Australia’s FIM Speedway of Nations world champions line up in the 2023 Australian Championship series as 2017 SGP world champion Jason Doyle, Max Fricke and Jack Holder go wheel-to-wheel this January. The trio ended the Roos’ 20-year wait for a world team title when they saw off reigning champions Great Britain to win the FIM SON Grand Final at Vojens in July. Doyle makes a welcome return to his national championship, which he last won in 2015 – the year he debuted in Speedway GP. He takes on two-time Aussie champion Max Fricke, who won the competition the last time it was staged in January 2020, with Holder placed second. He bids for his first national senior crown in the new year. Former world champion Chris Holder has also entered the 2023 series, with 2020 World Under-21 champion Jaimon Lidsey a confirmed starter. The 2021 Australian Championship was cancelled due to the pandemic, with this year’s series also switched to a one-off final as restrictions continued Down Under last summer. The re-arranged 2022 Australian Championship takes place at Adelaide track Gillman on December 10 and Fricke is red-hot favourite to lift the title in a meeting, which doesn’t feature Doyle or Holder. Doyle famously sealed the Speedway GP World Championship in front of his home fans as he won the 2017 FIM Australian Speedway GP, and he’s excited to make a racing return to his homeland. He told the Aussie Championship’s official website: “I can wait to be back in Australia for not only an Aussie Christmas, but I am also really looking forward to racing back in Australia. “I am also excited about being back here after the Nations win and taking time to celebrate at home with the fans. The win meant a lot and so too will sharing this time with the many speedway supporters. “The Aussie fans have been terrific and to be able to race in front of them again is great. I can’t wait!” The 2023 opener takes place at Gillman on January 3, before racing moves to storied Victorian venue Mildura on January 5 and Albury on January 7. New South Wales track Kurri Kurri – on the edge of the Hunter Valley – hosts round four on January 9, with the decider at North Brisbane in Queensland on January 11, where former Speedway GP rider Darcy Ward promotes events. Looking forward to the action, Motorcycling Australia’s event manager Samantha Redfern said: “It is great to hear that Jason will be back in Australia. “With many top riders returning home for the summer, it is certainly going to be a national championship not to miss. “To have three current world champions race in Jason Doyle, Max Fricke and Jack Holder as well as two former world champions in Chris Holder and Jaimon Lidsey… it’s just really something special! In 2023, we celebrate 100 years of speedway, and it is going to be a year to remember.”

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ALL 10 FIM SPEEDWAY VENUES RETURN FOR 2023

The 2023 FIM Speedway calendar has been confirmed as venues across eight different countries host FIM Speedway World Championships action and the sport celebrates its 100th season. A century on from the first speedway event in 1923, the sport’s current generation of stars will mark a huge anniversary season with another epic year of 500cc, no-brakes, wheel-to-wheel racing on the sport’s most famous stages. Nine of the 2022 venues take their place on the Speedway GP calendar, while Wroclaw’s legendary Olympic Stadium makes history once again, when it stages the much-anticipated return of the FIM Speedway World Cup from July 25-29, 2023. It’s the first time the competition has been taken place since 2017 and the first time all four events have taken place in one city as part of new global promoter Discovery Sports Events’ vision to restore the popular tournament and create the ultimate festival of team racing – staged every three seasons. Subject to final agreement with the local organiser, Latvian capital Riga is set to host the nation’s first SGP event since 2017 on Saturday, August 12. As part of a huge double-header of action at the city’s motorsport haven Bikernieki, Latvia’s talented under-21 team bids for FIM Speedway of Nations – SON2 gold on Friday, August 11, when the sport’s top seven under-21 sides race for the FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship. The SGP season opens with the FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec once again on April 29 – 12 months after Speedway Stadion Milenium made an unforgettable return to the calendar following a 10-year absence with the first event of the DSE era. Warsaw’s iconic PGE Narodowy hosts the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw on May 13, where over 50,000 passionate fans saw the sport’s top riders go wheel to wheel earlier this year. Prague’s Marketa Stadium is back with another double-header of action in 2023, as it hosts its record-breaking 29th FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic – Prague on Saturday, June 3. Fans can enjoy two nights of racing in the picturesque Czech capital with the FIM SGP2 of Czech Republic also taking place on Friday, June 2 as the 2023 FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship gets underway. Just seven days after the Prague events, the FIM Speedway GP of Germany – Teterow brings thousands of fans to the historic Bergring Arena on June 10. The action then switches to the Edward Jancarz Stadium for the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Gorzow on Saturday, June 24, with fans in Gorzow also set to enjoy a double-header of racing as the venue hosts the FIM SGP2 of Poland on Friday, June 23. Sweden’s biggest weekend of racing is next as the FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla returns to the Skrotfrag Arena on Saturday, July 15. But that’s not all, as the sport’s brightest under-16 stars also take to the Swedish forest track on Friday, July 14 for the FIM SGP3 Final – the FIM Speedway Youth World Championship contested on 250cc machines, which delivered one of the meetings of the season in Wroclaw last summer. The focus then switches to team racing as the FIM Speedway World Cup roars back on to the calendar in Wroclaw from July 25-29, when hosts Poland defend the Ove Fundin Trophy, which they won in Leszno in 2017. The two Semi-Finals take place on Tuesday, July 25 and Wednesday, July 26, with the winners joining Poland in the FIM SWC Final on Saturday, July 29. The second and third-placed nations in each semi contest the FIM SWC Race Off on Friday, July 28 with the winners completing the Final four. The first-ever FIM Speedway GP of Latvia – Riga is due to take place on Saturday, August 12 – just 24 hours after the SON2 event at Bikernieki on Friday, August 11. The event comes six years after Daugavpils’ Lokomotiv Stadium last hosted a Latvian round in 2017. Britain’s best arena motorsport event is back on Saturday, September 2, as the FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff comes to the iconic Principality Stadium, which hosted its 20th Speedway GP event in 2022. Racing then switches to the legendary Vojens Speedway Center for the FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens on Saturday, September 16. And fans will also see the 2023 FIM Speedway Under-21 world champion crowned as the title-deciding FIM SGP2 of Denmark wraps up the race for junior speedway’s biggest prize on Friday, September 15. The season ends in style with the always-exciting FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Torun on September 30, where the 2023 Speedway GP world champion will lift the trophy at a packed Marian Rose Motoarena. François Ribeiro, head of Discovery Sports Events, looks forward to building on a strong first season for the group as FIM Speedway global promoter, while continuing efforts to expand the calendar beyond Europe. He said: “We are delighted to welcome back all 10 of our FIM Speedway venues for speedway’s centenary season in 2023 – an occasion we will celebrate in style both on and off the track. “We extend a special welcome to our new partners in Riga, as they look set to join the Speedway GP series, subject to final agreement. “I would like to thank all of the local organisers we worked with in 2022 as they teamed up with us to elevate the FIM Speedway experience on and off the track for riders, fans and television viewers. We look forward to joining forces with all of our stakeholders for another exciting season in 2023. “Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach an agreement to bring the Speedway GP series back to Australia for 2023. But I can assure everyone that work continues behind the scenes to take the world’s best riders back to one of speedway’s biggest nations. “Bringing the Speedway GP series to Australia remains a key objective and, when it happens, we are determined to deliver an unforgettable event that is well worth the wait for our passionate fans Down Under and one that can be sustained for many years to come.” Visit FIMSpeedway.com and follow the @SpeedwayGP social media accounts throughout the off-season for all the top FIM Speedway news, plus more information on ticket sales.   2023 FIM SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX CALENDAR April 29 – FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec May 13 – FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw June 3 - FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic – Prague June 10 - FIM Speedway GP of Germany – Teterow June 24 - FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Gorzow July 15 - FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla August 12 - FIM Speedway GP of Latvia – Riga* September 2 - FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff September 16 - FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens September 30 - FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Torun   2023 FIM SPEEDWAY WORLD CUP CALENDAR (all events to be staged at Wroclaw’s Olympic Stadium in Poland) Tuesday, July 25 – FIM Speedway World Cup Semi-Final 1 Wednesday, July 26 – FIM Speedway World Cup Semi-Final 2 Friday, July 28 – FIM Speedway World Cup Race Off Saturday, July 29 – FIM Speedway World Cup Final   2023 SGP2 FIM SPEEDWAY UNDER-21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR Friday, June 2 – FIM SGP2 of Czech Republic – Prague Friday, June 23 – FIM SGP2 of Poland – Gorzow Friday, September 15 – FIM SGP2 of Denmark – Vojens   2023 SON2 FIM TEAM SPEEDWAY UNDER-21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Friday, August 11 – FIM Speedway of Nations - SON2 – Riga, Latvia*   2023 SGP3 FIM SPEEDWAY YOUTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Friday, July 14 – FIM SGP3 Final – Malilla   * Events subject to final promoter agreement

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PEDERSEN JOINS RACE TO BECOME DANISH BOSS

Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen has launched a bid to replace Hans Nielsen as Danish team manager – and he has no plans to stop racing. Pedersen won four FIM Speedway World Cups with his country but has found himself out of the national side under Nielsen’s tenure following a fall-out between the Danish legends. Nielsen won FIM Speedway of Nations bronze medals in 2020 and 2021 and stepped down following this year’s Final in Vojens, where the Danes finished fourth. With the position of national coach now open for 2023, Pedersen has emerged as a candidate and feels there is no-one better for the job ahead of the FIM SWC's return in Wroclaw next summer. He told TV2: “Right now there are no other Danes better than me that you can take if you really want to get ahead in the sport and get Denmark to produce results again. There is no-one else who is better. I know how to set up the bikes and how to assemble a team. There is no one else who can do it better than me. The DMU also knows this well.” It is not unprecedented for a national team manager to continue their riding career with Mark Lemon remaining on the bike for three years after becoming Australian boss. Pedersen is currently recovering from a badly broken hip and pelvis suffered in June. But he sees no reason why he couldn’t do the Danish national job on top of his role as a rider. He said: “It could well be that a transition could be made, where I did both for a few more years and was also linked to the DMU. It could easily happen. “If you have the right conditions for what the national coach must be able to do and participate in, then you can easily agree the contract so that I become national coach now, while I myself continue to ride at the same time.” Pedersen and the DMU have had an up-and-down relationship at times, but the Odense-born ace believes they could work together. He said: “Now I feel more like you should never say never. I have a good working relationship with the DMU and we have a lot of respect for each other, even though we have had a few fights over the years. We've learned from the things we've been through, so I don't see it being a problem to work together.” The DMU’s head of sport Soren Andersen is open to the idea of Pedersen continuing his racing career and managing his country. He said: “I can see a setup where the national coach is an active rider. We will not exclude any applicants. We can adjust some tasks so that it fits the profile. It is about getting the most optimal solution in the long run. “Nicki Pedersen could be an interesting name on an equal footing with all sorts of others. We have a lot of talented candidates out there, and I am convinced that we will hire a talented national coach. “There is reasonable interest, and several people have approached us after we advertised the position. We can also hear that it is a job that is talked about in the speedway environment.”

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JACK HOLDER: THE FAMILY BUSINESS

Aussie racer Jack Holder joined older brother Chris in becoming an FIM Speedway world champion last Saturday, but insisted “I definitely want the one that he has got.” Jack stormed to FIM Speedway of Nations gold with Australia in Vojens – claiming the country’s first world team title since they won the FIM Speedway World Cup at Peterborough 20 years ago. His triumph comes a decade after Chris famously roared to 2012 individual Speedway GP world championship gold in Torun. For now it’s Jack representing the Holder family on the biggest stage as he bids to improve on 14th place in the Speedway GP standings. The 26-year-old was delighted to join Max Fricke and Jason Doyle in ending the country’s wait for a world team title last weekend. But ahead of the FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff on August 13, Jack would love to emulate Chris and add Speedway GP gold to his FIM SON success. He said: “Chris’ World Championship is a little bit different. He did it all on his own. We were lucky enough to be there in his corner – the whole family – to watch him do it that night. It was an amazing feeling. I can’t imagine how he felt. Ours was a little bit different. It was a team effort, but I definitely want the one that he has got. “I have been going alright in the GP. It is super tough. You can’t have any last places. I have been knocking at the semi-finals for the whole series. I have managed to get one, but I have always been one point or a countback off. “It’s so cutthroat. But for my first season, I am doing pretty well. When I look back and look at Woffy’s first season or Laguta’s, they really struggled. I am holding my ground. We are at the halfway stage now, so it’s time to kick on and get up there.” Holder made his first FIM SON appearance last week, forcing his way into Australia’s starting pair alongside Fricke, despite being named at No.3 by team manager Mark Lemon. After being overlooked for the side in 2021, Holder was determined to make his mark. Asked if he felt he had a point to prove, the Sheffield and Torun star admitted: “A little bit – it was probably more in the Semi-Final. Lemo decided to stick me out in the first race and I was thinking ‘come on – now is your time to shine and prove why you should be in this.’ “We chopped and changed on Wednesday. But from heat one on Saturday, he decided to pick me and Max. We did a good job together and Doyley too. The whole thing has been awesome. “Winning it is still so surreal. It has been a long time coming, especially for Australia. It was my first SON and it felt amazing. “All my team worked hard. Everyone was helping – Doyley and his boys were helping out. It was a team effort and that’s what it’s all about. Me and Max rode well together as a team. We were looking for each other and we got the job done.” Holder now can’t wait to test himself at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium – a venue where Chris claimed his first Speedway GP victory in 2010, before winning again in 2012 on his way to World Championship glory in Torun. “For sure, it’s one off the bucket list,” Jack said. “I just have to calm the nerves down and enjoy it. Not everyone gets the chance to do it. I want to enjoy it. I will be trying my hardest – as I always do – and we will see what happens.” Celebrate 20 years of Speedway GP in Cardiff on Saturday, August 13 with all tickets including entry to Sunday’s FIM SGP2 of Great Britain, featuring the sport’s under-21 stars. Secure your seats at Principality Stadium online here now: https://bit.ly/3ixX9wQ

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WOFFY OUT OF FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS FINAL

Triple world champion Tai Woffinden has been forced out of tonight’s FIM Speedway of Nations Final in Vojens after suffering a back injury on Friday. The injury occurred on Friday during a training exercise with five other riders, who are all due to race in tonight’s final. Woffinden was set to line up for the Lions at No.1, but was taken to hospital for tests this morning. He was assessed by experts at Kolding Sygehus Medical Centre in Kolding, where he also underwent x-rays and examinations. With no replacement for tonight’s meeting available, No.3 reserve rider Dan Bewley will replace him and partner Robert Lambert in every heat. The pair joined forces in the 2021 FIM SON Final when Woffinden crashed out at the end of Day 1 in Manchester. Lambert and Bewley fired GB to third place in the standings before winning the Grand Final Qualifier and Grand Final to end the Lions’ 32-year wait for a world team title. In a statement released by the Great Britain Speedway Team, they confirmed Woffinden’s team and bikes will be on hand and available for Lambert and Bewley as they bid to pull off a remarkable second straight gold medal in the absence of Britain’s most successful speedway rider. GB’s statement read: “Our riders' health and safety is always our priority and due to the nature of Tai’s injury and subsequent effects on his movement, a joint decision has been made to withdraw from racing this evening. “Tai has ensured that his machinery and mechanics will be in the GB pits this evening to assist if needed. “Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley, who clinched FIM Speedway of Nations gold medal for GB last October in Manchester, will now spearhead the bid to defend that title. “Great Britain team boss Olly Allen said: ‘This is naturally a massive blow. Firstly we hope that Tai can recover full fitness as soon as possible. However, Robert and Dan have a job to do and we know they can deliver to help us win the FIM Speedway of Nations.’”

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